Tyrannies, tribulations and action learning: Jam & Justice at #VCSEEngage

Barriers to organisational co-production (sketch by Hannah Peake)

The GM VCSE Co-Production Assembly, convened by active co-producers, is home to an emergent community of practice. Hosted at the headquarters of Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation, the informal membership assembled for the second time at the end of March, having first met in December 2018. Highlights from the event were shared proactively on social media, using the hashtag #VCSEEngage.

Jam and Justice made two distinct contributions to the programme:

Co-Produce GM

Iona Hine, our impact officer, spoke about developments with our coalitions for change programme, highlighting opportunities to get involved--including Action Learning Sets and a co-design session for the third coalitions event, which will take place in National Co-Production Week.

Judging by subsequent sign-ups to the Action Learning Sets, they represent a practical way of paying attention to the “trials and tribulations” that may precede co-productive triumphs. As Hannah Peake and Maria McCaffrey captured in their later workshop, for optimal co-production “you’ve got to go through it”. (See the above vision of co-production as a bear hunt, prepared by Hannah and shared with workshop attendees.)


ARC member Andrew Burridge co-delivered a workshop with GM Co-Production Project Manager Maddy Hubbard, exploring the so-called “Tyrannies” that could sabotage co-production (and participatory governance more broadly). The latter session was informed by an upcoming publication from the academic research team. Co-investigator (and lead author) Liz Richardson was there to join the discussion.

Liz characterises the most potent tyrannies as an obsessive quest for “authenticity”, a mistaken assumption that there’s no role for “leadership” in co-production, and an often unchallenged dichotomy between “top down” and “bottom up” approaches.

Presentations from both sessions can be downloaded below.

Slides from other presenters are available to download from the GMCVO website. The image at the head of this page can also be downloaded there; it was drawn by Hannah Peake and shared as part of a session on Trials, Tribulations, Triumphs and Top Tips.

The Assembly will meet again on 20th June, with open planning sessions for that event on 9th April and 9th May.